Dan Oblinger Discusses Evangelization of Those with Drug and Alcohol Problems.

 Dan Oblinger is a husband and father of three adopted children.  He is a former seminarian for the Diocese of Wichita and attends Blessed Sacrament in Wichita.  His background is in law enforcement.  He is the sole proprietor of Centurions Unlimited, a corporate training and public education company that specializes in Drug Abuse Awareness and Recognition.  He does not own a television.  He took the time to sit down with Tony and Chris and address some common concerns regarding drug and alcohol abuse and evangelization:

Q.  How did you get involved in this ministry- education and drugs?

A.  It began with my work as a police officer.  Sometimes it is easier to ignore the portions of our society that are different or dangerous.  As a cop I didn't have that luxury.  Quite the opposite, I think I thoroughly enjoy the variety of cultures that I get to travel through during my work week.  Early in my career, I began to become very skilled as a DUI enforcement officer, and then further specialized in drugged driving.  It wasn't long before I had a lot of face-to-face conversations with all sorts of folks with all sorts of chemical problems.

Q.  Why do you like drugs so much?

A.  As a child drugs really scared me.  The idea of people using drugs was frightening.  As I learned more and more about drugs, and began to meet and work closely with those who are addicted to drugs, the fear of drugs was replaced by a fascination with the implications that serious drug abuse has for salvation.  It was only natural for me to view drug abuse through the lens of my own experience as a seminarian and a background in good Catholic thought.  Drugs and their abuse offer some insight into the state of our culture, and to the power that sin can have in the lives of those who do not choose wisely. As I tell the audiences I meet, sobriety is not sufficient, but it is necessary.  It is the foundation for salvation.


Q.  What sources from Catholic Doctrine do you look to in your courses or speeches?

A.  Many stories in the bible are instructive.  I particularly like the story of Noah in Gen. 9:21.  where he gets drunk, and lays naked, and Ham pays the price.  It is an instructive tale about the destructive power of drug abuse.  I think also, the sheer volume of reference to the curse of drunkenness in most of the prophetic books and Psalms, and the role that intemperance plays in the story of David and Uriah, in Lot and the sin of his daughters, and a whole host of Biblical stories is a great education.  Most importantly for me, is the clarity of the Catechism.  Paragraphs 1733 and 1740 deal with "freedom".  To me, that is the whole root of any understanding of drug abuse and addiction.  Freedom means choosing good over evil.   The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes.  We should repeat that every morning when we get up about 20 times til it sinks in!  That is really the essence of being a Christian in the World.  More starkly, the Catechism in 2291 refers to the abuse of drugs as a grave concern, and limits the proper use of drugs to "therapeutic" reasons.


Q.  People that go to your trainings or speeches come away with the sense that you are really interested in culture.  Why?

A.  Culture is so formative for human beings, and it is always changing.  A Culture can be incredibly destructive or beautiful.  Culture is the key to unlocking drug abuse and a whole host of problems.  Our efforts to curtail drug abuse have really been about making it a legal issue and trying to control the drugs.  But this is a people problem, just like every other problem in society.  So we have people with medical, psychological, and certainly spiritual problems, and we believe somehow we can arrest our way out of it.  And then the REALLY smart guy says yeah, that's crazy, and then advocates legalization of powerfully addictive and dangerous substances.  I think the answer is focusing all those energies on building up a culture of beauty, great art, and solid science, where families are strong, healthy, and defended.  Then see what the rate of drug abuse is.  In effect, wed be fighting culture with culture, which the Church has a long history of doing.  Culture is how we learn nearly everthing important, including both how to be a faithful Catholic, and how to a drug user.  This speaks to the danger of legalism, particularly in regards to the debate about prohibition vs. legalization.  The answer is that we as a society, not the government, need to start asking "What is Best?", not what is legal, or what can I get away with.


Q.  What kind of drugs are out there?  Marijuana right, and meth, but what else?

A.  Answering that question means understanding what a "drug" is. People define it either too broadly or too narrowly.  And I have to to think that our listeners out there are mostly concerned parents, grandparents, educators, family members, pastors, and they are approaching the question of what a drug is from the perspective of "how do I protect my loved one's form a life of abuse?"  In that regard, my definition of drug is any substance that when introduced in to the human body can prevent them from reflecting God's image and likeness.  This is the one I use because it encompasses all those substances that I've seen people abuse, and it gets to the heart of the matter with this kind of abuse: that it makes us turn away form God.  It essentially makes us function at a level less than human.  So, to take the long way home, the drugs I see most in our community are the old stand-bys: Alcohol and Tobacco, Marijuana, Meth and Cocaine, and then a whole host of prescribed medications.  The most common here are oxycodone, hydrocodone and xanax/valium.


Q.  Are there some drugs out there that someone listening in today might discount, or just not know about?

A.  My top three that parents might not know about are (1) dextromethorphan, (2) inhalants or huffing (3) salvia divinorum.  Dextromethorphan is commonly called "DM", "DXM", or "robo-tripping" and "skittles".  It is heavily abused by kids.  It is really just cough syrup, but taken in large quantities it is a powerful drug of abuse.


Q.  What should parents know?  Or do?

A.  I always like to quote Mother Teresa, because you can't go wrong.  “I have often seen, especially in the rich countries, how children turn to drugs or other things to escape feeling unloved and rejected…”

But when families are strong and united, children can see God's special love in the love of their father and mother and can grow to make their country a loving and prayerful place.”  I think there's still a tendency to think, "Not my kid!"  The problem is that too many kids are SOMEONE'S kids that do end up having problems with drugs and alcohol.  You can call this the Ostrich Effect.  Ignoring drugs, assuming everything you knew in the 70's is everything you need to know in the 21st Century, or just trusting that everything's gonna be OK is reckless in my opinion.  We have to know more about these evils than our kids if we are going to be Moral Guides, and this is hard because with the internet they know so much.  That being said, the people that host or come to my meetings are generally very eager to learn, and come with the attitude that they will get this information out to their loved one's, co-workers, neighbors, whomever needs it.  Parent's should have an ongoing dialogue with their kids, and should be good listeners, not just good lecturers.  Your kids will tell you if they are in trouble, but only if you haven't scared them silent.


Q.  It is clear for Catholics that drugs aren't intrinsically evil.  What differentiates between their use and abuse?

A.  Excellent point, but worth repeating: DRUGS ARE NOT EVIL!  Otherwise, we would have had to shut down all the monastic brewmeisters along time ago, and Lent would not have made beer so popular.  Drugs are really a tool for humans.  Their moral quality is intimately tied to how human beings use them.  ALmost every drug in existence was originally formulated for a good medical end.  Even cocaine.  There are some things I look for when asked to say someone's use constitutes abuse.  Dosage, Frequency of Use, Poly-drug (Mixing drugs), and Method of Ingestion.  Fancy terms that are really designed to smoke out our intent when we use:  this really determines the moral quality.  Using to get thigh is always abusive.

Q.  What is Centurions Unlimited and what's in the name?

A.  I started CU to share what I had learned about drugs, and a whole set of other cultural problems with teachers, pastors, parents, and employers.  People with a stake in how our society fares.  My slogan is "Mind of a cop, heart of a teacher."  I approach it like a ministry.  More like being a prophet than a King, to be sure!  The name I took because Centurions are iconic for being defenders of ancient culture, and we desperately need defenders of good modern culture too.  I don't think the government can fill that role, I think it has to be grassroots from the real leaders of our society, and at the most basic building blocks: families, parishes, neighborhoods.  My theory is that if I can touch a few peoples' lives and get them to aggressively approach this business of culture change and rejecting the false promise of drug abuse, and in turn they teach a few loved ones who teach a few loved ones, then thats the Unlimited in Centurions Unlimited.  Its Sisyphusian I'll grant you, but I had some free time, and why not.  WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.


Q.  Why employers?

A.  Because drug abuse can cost employers substantially, both in lost productivity and in liability from impaired workers injuring or being injured on the job.  I offer trainings that are customized for each workforce and business, and at a very reasonable rate.  And secretly, they are underwriting the even lower cost to schools and churches!  The great thing about employers mandating employee/supervisor training is that the message reaches those who normally would never come to an after-school/church parents' meeting.  I take the captive audience but present the material in a way that proposes the truth, not imposes policies.


Q.  How can churches, schools, or businesses contact you?

A. E-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., I will build a curriculum and schedule that meets each client's needs.  I deliver the presentation on site, on a day/time that meets their requirements.

Share Your Story: The Role of Testimonies in Evangelization

 Your sitting on a plane when the person next to you notices the Cross you are wearing around your neck and they ask, "So why are you Christian?"  In that moment will we be able to respond in such a way that it would possibly make sense to another human being.  More importantly will our response to them be a moment of grace that invites the questioner into a relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.  Or will we act as if we didn't hear the question and hope the person does not repeat it?

Read more ...

Looking for a Retreat?

 On our January 13th radio show "Casting Nets with Tony & Chris" we discussed the importants of retreats.  A retreat is a great opportunity to replinish our tank and recommit ourselves to Jesus Christ and His mission of the salvation of the world. 

Remember, retreats are not just necessities for us in active ministries but are great opportunities to reach out to others and invite them to something that might be able to reach their hearts.

Here is some further information and resouces that we shared on the show:

Spiritual Life Center - Wichita, KS
www.slcwichita.org
Many dioceses have retreat centers be sure to check you local area.

“Ministering in a Church Characterized By Conflict,”
June 21-25
A Preached Retreat for Priests with Fr. Eugene Hensell, O.S.B.
Cost $250
To register call (316) 744-0167

SUMMER THEOLOGY INSTITUTE: Caritas in Veritate“Charity in Truth”
July 15-17
To register call (316) 744-0167

“My Angel Will Go Before You,” Weekend Retreat
With Fr. Jarrod Lies
July 30-August 1 
To register call (316) 744-0167

Midwest Catholic Family Conference
August 6 - 8
Wichita, KS
www.catholicfamilyconference.org

“The Kingdom of God: Destination of Our Pilgrim Journey of Faith” Weekend Retreat
With Fr. John Lanzrath
August 27-29
To register call (316) 744-0167

Project Rachel Retreats
www.hopeafterabortion.com

Casting Nets Suggested Reading List

On Evangelization

The Everyday Apostle - Fr. Edward Garesche
You Can Change the World - Fr. James Keller
John Paul II and the New Evangelization - Ralph Martin
Go and Make Disciples - USCCB
Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Truth - Fr. John McCloskey
Evangelii Nuntiandi - Pope Paul VI
Christifideles Laici - Pope John Paul II
Apostolicam Actuositatem - Vatican II

Jesus

Jesus of Nazareth – Pope Benedict XVI
To Know Christ Jesus – Frank Sheed
The Spear – Louis de Wohl

Mary

True Devotion – St. Louis de Montfort
The World's First Love – Fulton Sheen
Introduction to Mary – Mark Miravalle

About Saints

The Restless Flame – Louis de Wohl
A Quiet Light – Louis de Wohl
-anything by Louis de Wohl
Joan of Arc – Mark Twain
Kids sets by Ignatius Press and TAN

By Saints

A Story of a Soul – St. Therese of Lisieux
The Confessions – St. Augustine
Introduction to the Devout Life – St. Francis de Sales
The Sadness of Christ – St. Thomas More
The Will to Love – St. Maximilian Kolbe
The Way, Furrow, and The Forge – St. Josemaria Escriva

Spirituality

Soul of the Apostolate – Dom Jean Chataurd
Fire Within – Fr. Thomas Dubay
Prayer Primer – Fr. Thomas Dubay
Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer – Fr. Thomas Dubay
The Evidential Power of Beauty – Fr. Thomas Dubay
Happy are You Poor – Fr. Thomas Dubay

Apologetics

Beginning Apologetics Series – Jim Burnham
Rome Sweet Home – Scott and Kimberly Hahn
The Handbook of Catholic Apologetics – Peter Kreeft
-The pocket version of the above.
How Not to Share the Faith – Mark Brumly
Surprised by Truth – Patrick Madrid and friends
What's So Great About Christianity – D'Souza

Marriage and Family

Marriage: A Path to Sanctity – Eugenio Fenoy and Javier Abad
Covenanted Happiness – Msgr. Cormac Burke
Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love – Edward Sri
Three to Get Married – Archbishop Fulton Sheen
The Catholic Handbook for Engaged and Newly Married Couples – Fredrick Marks
Christian Fatherhood – Steve Wood
Life Giving Love – Kimberly Hahn
Holiness for Housewives – Humbert van Zeller

Morality

Living the Good Life – Dr. Mark Lowery
Introduction to Moral Theology – William May
Back to Virtue – Peter Kreeft

Youth and Young Adult


Do I Have to Go? – Chris Stefanick
If You Really Loved Me – Jason Evert
Blessed are the Bored in Spirit – Mark Hart
Did Adam & Eve Have Belly Buttons – Matthew Pinto
I Choose God – Chris Cuddy

Other Notable Books

Left to Tell – Immaculee Ilibagiza
Led by Faith – Immaculee Ilibagiza
Father Elijah (all series)– Michael O'Brien
The Incorruptibles – Joan Carroll Cruz

Notable Authors

Peter Kreeft
C.S. Lewis
G.K. Chesterton
J.R.R. Tolkien
Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Frank Sheed
George Weigel

Evangelization of Women: A Conversation with Erin Graver

Why do you think it’s worthwhile to talk specifically about the Evangelization of Women – instead of just the evangelization of people in general?

1. Probably, much that is said of how to witness to women also applies to men and vice versa… but differently. And that precisely is the point. Both genders are obviously human, but in a different way. We’re the same but different! Men and women share a common humanity, they have a very deep unity and similarity – the story of our creation in the Book of Genesis makes this very clear, that they are both created in the image of God, in equal dignity.

“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).

This verse makes the point which is echoed later throughout the Bible, especially throughout Christ’ ministry and in St. Paul’s writings, that men and women are equal in the eyes of God. HOWEVER, and this is crucial, being equal does not mean being the same. Men and women represent 2 DIFFERENT ways of being the image of God, 2 DIFFERENT ways of being human. In the Theology of the Body, John Paul II wrote:

“Masculinity and femininity are “two different ‘incarnations’, that is, two ways in which the same human being created in the image of God is a body” (TOB 8.1).

So we have a comman humanity and common dignity as humans but live that out either as a man or as a woman.


2. I think in today’s age there is a temptation to dismiss the differences between men and women as being on the whole arbitrary. Probably, this is an understandable reaction to the negative ways in which the gender difference used to be construed and lived out. For example, women have objectively suffered a harmful domination throughout history exactly on the basis of their being different from men. And in the last century (or two) society has rightly begun to see the disorder and injustice in this and to fight against it. So, in an effort to avoid this disorder and domination, we might be tempted to gloss over or downplay the essential differences between men and women for fear they might be misunderstood and abused. But the problem is not the gender difference but a wrong way of understanding it. And in fact, to protect women and their dignity, and to serve their interests properly, we have to address and understand how they are different from men – otherwise we simply ignore an important part of who they are.

There is an increasing body of studies which focus on pointing out the differences between men and women – but common sense can tell us a lot if we simply listen to it. I was laughing this last week as I graded my student’s class notes they’ve taken the past few months. There were notes but there were also a bunch of doodles in the margins. The girls’ binders had hearts, and flowers, or drawings of girls wearing long ballgowns… and the boys of course drew cars, or guns, or Godzilla wrecking a city…. Think of how little children differ in how they play…


Can you say more about how we can misunderstand the meaning of what it means to be a woman, or misunderstand gender differences?

1.You can think of this as a spectrum, with two extreme views on either end and the correct one somewhere in between. On one end we have modern feminism which often makes the mistake of denying the difference between men and women out of the laudable goal of protecting women from injustice or discrimination. But in denying a woman’s femininity, modern feminism can be, ironically, very anti-woman.

Mulieris Dignitatem:
In our times the question of "women's rights" has taken on new significance in the broad context of the rights of the human person. The biblical and evangelical message sheds light on this cause, which is the object of much attention today, by safeguarding the truth about the "unity" of the "two", that is to say the truth about that dignity and vocation that result from the specific diversity and personal originality of man and woman. Consequently, even the rightful opposition of women to what is expressed in the biblical words "He shall rule over you" (Gen 3:16) must not under any condition lead to the "masculinization" of women. In the name of liberation from male "domination", women must not appropriate to themselves male characteristics contrary to their own feminine "originality". There is a well-founded fear that if they take this path, women will not "reach fulfilment", but instead will deform and lose what constitutes their essential richness (MD 10).


2. On the other extreme end is the exaggeration of gender differences so it seems that the two genders are practically separate species entirely. This exaggeration is also motivated by the laudable goal of defending the identity of women and protecting their femininity so society doesn’t just force them to turn into something very mannish. An exaggeration of gender differences might lead to stereotypes that become way overblown, like women are all about emotion and men are all about reason. Exaggerating the gender differences leads to forgetting our deep similarities as human people and presents problems of its own.

To be honest, in my own experience, I’ve encountered the 1st extreme (of ignoring gender differences) in secular circles and the 2nd extreme (of exaggerating the gender difference) in Christian circles. Both extremes are trying to do something important but ultimately are unsatisfying to me as a woman.


3. What I want is a way of affirming my common humanity I share with men, this common dignity of being God’s creation and child, that also recognizes the unique gifts I as a woman bring to the table in the family, community, and the Church. And throughout this, I want to be recognized too as not just an anonymous woman that is exactly like all other women but as a particular woman, me. I’m not just a Woman I’m Erin.


What is in the middle of that spectrum? (How do we correctly understand what it means to be a woman?)

1. I think the most obvious place to begin looking for clues about femininity is to start with the body. The Lord is so concrete in how he teaches us, and he made our bodies in such a way as to give us hints about who we are and what we’re here for. This idea is at the foundation of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, where he wrote:

“The body expresses the person… in such a way as to make it clear who man is (and who he ought to be).” TOB 7:2

So he is saying that something about how our bodies are made tells us something about how we are in the very depths of our identities, and this is especially true for understanding gender because the body makes our gender so very clear.

“The body reveals the man… The theology of the body, which is linked from the beginning with the creation of man in the image of God, becomes in some way also a theology of masculinity and femininity” (TOB 9.5)


2. Okay so the body is the way it is for a reason and it tells us something. What does it tell us about women?

First, a woman’s body has the capacity to conceive a child, carry him or her for 9 months and after delivery to nourish the child with her own body. This capacity to make space within herself for another is so significant for women, and I mean for ALL women, whether or not they have children or ever will. This aspect of the female body implies that women are receptive in their very nature. What is true of them physically is also true of them spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Women are naturally open to other people, and are so ready and wanting to receive them into her life, to make a space for another person in her heart and in her life. This happens very concretely in how a woman receives her husband in order to conceive a child, and then again in the actual conception of a new person inside of her. Her receptivity bears fruit and gives new life. Again, that happens literally in procreation but also symbolically on a spiritual level especially in the way she loves people. So a woman’s receptivity makes her specially geared towards personal relationship,

Mulieris Dignitatem:
“This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings - not only towards her own child, but every human being - which profoundly marks the woman's personality. It is commonly thought that women are more capable than men of paying attention to another person, and that motherhood develops this predisposition even more” (MD 18).

“The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way. Of course, God entrusts every human being to each and every other human being. But this entrusting concerns women in a special way - precisely by reason of their femininity - and this in a particular way determines their vocation” (MD 30).


3. Receptivity - Wholeness & Contemplation

Another aspect to how women’s physical receptivity shapes her femininity is how women tend to take everything inside of them. Their relationship, their stresses, the concerns of those they care about, how their day was… women bring all of this inside of them. Just as a woman will carry a child inside of her, a woman bears many things inside of her. For example, the other day I was speaking with my husband about how in our relationship it tends to be me that brings up relationship issues to discuss. We agreed that this is a stereotype which is very often true! So many times it is the woman who initiates discussions. Which surprised me at first, in my own marriage, because I am married to a very good man who is by no means oblivious to the relationships in his life. But I’m still the one who usually initiates the discussions about our relationship. This makes sense, however, because women really take the relationship inside of themselves and bear it within them. In a way, it grows and lives somewhat inside of the woman much in the way a child grows inside a woman. And this is for better or for worse. It is a strength or a weakness depending on the spiritual maturity of the woman.

Women bear everything inside of them, all at once, they do not compartmentalize. Women tend to think of our life as a whole, I think as a result of how we take everything in, we think about everything at once! This is a strength because we see connections so easily and strive to integrate our relationships and our lives. And we can multitask! We see this aspect of women demonstrated even in how our brain thinks. There was a study done on patients with brain damage from various reasons. These patients had all lost the use of much of their left hemisphere of their brain, which is where our verbal abilities are thought to be located. What the study discovered is that in the male patients, this damage caused them to be unable to put their thoughts into words, and their lingual abilities greatly diminished. The surprise of the study was that the female patients had a much easier time verbally communicating, despite the brain damage, because in female brains language abilities tend to be spread all throughout the two sides of the brain whereas in men that mainly happens only in the left side. Female brain functions are more shared and spread out; different parts of the brains perform multiple functions. Male brain functions are more localized and focused, with language being here, and spatial abilities here, and logical reasoning here, etc…. Even female brains simply try to do everything at once. So we are great at seeing the connections in different ideas, how everything fits together, and communicating all of that but it can be hard for us to compartmentalize and focus on one concern and nothing else. Men, however, tend to be skilled at just that. There are positives and negatives to both.


How does all this affect a woman’s spirituality and specifically the way we go about evangelizing?

First and foremost, due to a woman’s receptivity and focus on personal relationships, a woman’s spirituality will probably include a deep focus on a personal relationship with God. (Men too need a personal relationship with God of course but will live that out in a masculine way.) Relationships tend to really motivate women due to their natural wisdom of how important love and friendship is to the human person. I myself first began wondering about who God is because of the beauty around me, I saw the beauty of creation and figured there must be a purpose and creator behind all of that. So God as Beauty got me asking questions, and God as Truth got me into the Catholic Church as I became convinced of the historical and factual truth of Catholicism, but it was seeing faith as a personal relationship that really made it come alive for me.

For example, I think as a woman it is important for me to see God as my Father, as a person who takes care of me and chooses me and loves me. A woman can worry a lot about if she is just too complicated, just “too much” for people, or on the other hand if she’s not good enough, just not “enough”. So she needs to know she is cherished by the Father, just the way she is. I think that especially given the brokenness of so many families today, an emphasis on the Fatherhood of God and his personal love for each of us is absolutely key because there are plenty of women who haven’t seen their fathers in years, or if they were not physically abandoned by their fathers were emotionally or spiritually abandoned by them. For a woman who has not known a trustworthy father, to be introduced to God as the One who always tells the truth, always protects me, and always loves can be transformative. When a person sees God as their Father who loves them, they can be healed of so many wounds as they discover that their identity is not based on the rejection or failure of an earthly parent but on the fact that my Heavenly Father has chosen me to be his beloved daughter. For women whose dad were a positive fatherly figure, it is also important to develop a personal relationship with God the Father, as that good family relationship will just be lifted up, blessed, and ultimately transcended by her relationship with God.

Another important consideration in evangelization is to help women see Christ as the perfect Bridegroom, as the One who loves them perfectly even to laying down his life for them. We need to know that Jesus has been pursuing us, waiting for us to accept his invitation to love Him, that it’s his most passionate concern to make sure we are never separated from Him. We need to know that He wants us, just as a bride needs to know she is wanted by her groom. A good friend of mine was involved with a missionary team who witnessed to young adults. The team leaders went on occasional retreats for spiritual formation, and on one of these treats the men in the group prepared a special activity for the women. They gathered them all together and explained that they were going to put on music and dance with Jesus. All of the women were blindfolded and instructed to reach out their hand, palm up, and wait to be led out on the dance floor to dance with a guy who would play the role of Jesus for them. My friend basically thought okay fine, it sounds a little silly but alright. And the music started, and my friend could hear other girls leaving her side to go to the dance floor, and the music was playing, and it was taking a long time for anyone to come get her. And what began as just a retreat activity turned into an important moment, because she had to choose to keep her hand held out and trust that someone would come for her. And when she felt a man take her hand and lead her out to the dance floor, she was full of joy and knew that it was crucial for her to believe that Jesus Christ always keeps his promises and never, ever stops pursuing his beloved bride.

Finally, I think that Adoration can also be a powerful way to reach the heart of a woman because it is a place where one can really be struck with the total gift of Christ the Bridegroom for his bride, where I realize he gave everything for ME, even his very body. This helps us know and trust in the abiding love & constancy of our Lord not to mention forms our understanding of how our earthly bridegrooms should love us.


What kind of role do women have to play in the world or the Church?

1. We spoke of  how because of their special capacity for others, god entrusts women with the human person. Women are a powerful force to fight against the dehumanaization that goes on in our society, where the dignity of men and women is attacked, whether that be unborn life in the womb or sick and eldery life or simply the respect and attention due to people is missing whether through negative media messages or an overemphasis on efficiency and technology… women can focus the attention on the whole person in all his dignity.

Mulieris Dignitatem:
In our own time, the successes of science and technology make it possible to attain material well-being to a degree hitherto unknown. While this favours some, it pushes others to the edges of society. In this way, unilateral progress can also lead to a gradual loss of sensitivity for man, that is, for what is essentially human. In this sense, our time in particular awaits the manifestation of that "genius" which belongs to women, and which can ensure sensitivity for human beings in every circumstance: because they are human (MD 30)!


2. Also, a woman’s role in society is magnified because of how important she is to the family, which is the first and most vital cell of society. John Paul II reminded us in Familiaris Consortio that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family.” Basically, if the families are weak than society as a whole will be weak. If the family is strong, the society as a whole will be strong. Women are the glue in families, as wives and mothers (also as daughters and sisters) they help hold everything together, and when joined in this task of protecting the family by husbands and fathers, women play a key role in creating a civilization of love instead of a culture of death.

3. As to the Church, a woman will first of all serve the Church when she serves the domestic church, her own family, which will be a witness for the whole Church to the love of God.

4. Finally, in her receptivity, a woman shows men how to be receptive towards God. All people, men and women, are receptive towards God, we must receive the Lord and his grace – we cannot grasp for it. Men can learn a lot from women about how to be receptive, and can be taught how receptivity is not being passive, it’s not just sitting there not doing anything. Receptivity is extremely active, as we can see in the fruit it bears whether it’s receiving a child in conception and giving it new life, or whether it’s in the spiritual life of grace working in my heart, or whether it’s the Blessed Mother receiving the Spirit of God so our Lord could be Incarnated among us. Receptivity indeed is a beautiful and hard work and women have a role to play in teaching the Church (including men and women) what it means to receive the love of God.

Erin was a guest host on Casting Nets with Tony and Chris to discuss this topic of Woman and Evangilaztion you can listen to the show by going to the archives of past shows.

Erin Graver holds her undergraduate degree from Notre Dame Univeristy and a Masters in Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C.  Erin currently teaches religion at Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, Ks.  She lives with her husband in Wichita.